Hate Women? Moi?Finally, I've had a letter in SX critical of one of my columns. I've had the odd complimentary letter so this was a bit of a deal for me.
From Gail Hewison @ The Feminist Bookshop, Lilyfield:
Your columnist Queer Penguin is correct in everything he says about the injustice and homophobia in the recent jailing of two gay men in Fiji.
However his denigration of Schapelle Corby in the same article is unfair and bordering on misogynous, describing her as a "former Gold Coast beauty student who cries a lot on camera" and "who claims she has been set up". Queer Penguin insinuates that she is deliberately using her beauty and sexuality to gain favours.
She is, in fact, a young Australian woman, probably set-up, who faces the death penalty from a court only too happy to make an example of her. The Australian Government has been very much on the back foot in supporting her, and has only recently taken an interest in her case. Initially she was left to sink or swim.
Lack of support by the Australian Govt both for Schapelle Corby and Thomas McKoskar has been disgraceful, but predictable. Hopefully in a short time both will have been cleared and released. But in the meantime I think they both deserve all the support possible from members of the GLBTI community.
A fair bit to respond to here. Firstly, I am no misogynist. Homo men who hate women are about as appealing and likeable as gonorrhea. My mum brought me up to respect and value women under the quite reasonable threat of catapultation. However, I take Ms Hewison's point that I may have gone too far about Corby.
Look, I'll be honest: I believe Schapelle Corby is guilty. I have absolutely nothing to back up my position other than a hunch and her likely conviction (which I realise is by no means a guarantee), and if anyone would like to provide a concise argument outlining why she's likely not guilty - other than the "reality" that young women are often targetted and set up for drug trafficking in Asian airports - then please feel free to do so. Ultimately, it's a they said, she said situation.
I certainly don't believe she should be executed - I don't support capital punishment in any situation - and if she is wrongly sentenced to life imprisonment she is at least alive while evidence can be produced to shown she's innocent and could therefore be released. Putting her before a firing squad would somewhat limit this avenue.
But I referred to her crying in front of the camera because, like her "fainting" in court, I think it's for show. I believe she's crying not because she's innocent but because she got caught. Again, I realise this is only a theory, please don't think I'm being gratuitously heartless or cruel.
McKoskar, by comparison, is by definition guilty of the "crime" of homosexuality in Fiji. I've pretty much exhausted all I want to say about this case in previous posts, but I stand by my original conclusion that something is wrong when our government prioritises diplomatic aid to overseas Australians based not on the injustice of their situation or the legal ambiguity on which they are convicted, but on the physical appeal and/or sexuality of the Australian in question and whether or not they have behind them the force of the commercial media and a million "Save Schapelle" petitions circulating in cyberspace.
I had an interesting chat with my flatmate last night about whether or not McKoskar should have been aware that homosexuality is a crime in Fiji which comes with a possible 14-year sentence. Certainly, both he and I, as politically aware gay men who at least know the countries where homosexuality is punishable by death, did not know it was so great a crime in Fiji. It's a bit of an "reasonable person" test and I realise it doesn't really apply in these sorts of foreign law transgressions, but it's definitely clear that, unlike Bali airport has with drugs, to my knowledge there are not lots of big signs warning that "homosexuality is a crime!" when you first arrive in Fiji.
Corby could not have missed these warnings - and where probably 8/10 people in Australia would know that drug trafficking in Indonesia is punishable by death, maybe 2 or 3/10 would know for certain that homosexuality is a crime in Fiji - so if she is guilty, then she's really not so much an innocent victim as a very stupid person. And stupidity crosses all genders.
This is a sitution where I would honestly like to be proved wrong - that Corby is innocent and definitive evidence is found to show this and that she is released.